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Today's Tidbit... 1935 GoldSmith Sports Equipment Consulting Staff
This is the first of seven articles in a series covering the 1935-36 Fall & Winter GoldSmith Athletic Equipment catalog. Preceding each section of the catalog is a one-page cartoon about the history of that type of equipment, in today's case, football pants.
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I've shown illustrations and images from period sporting goods catalogs in the past to illustrate how football equipment evolved over the years. Still, I have not showcased a particular catalog until now. Having recently purchased the 1935-36 GoldSmith Athletic Equipment, Fall & Winter catalog in an auction showing only a few interior pages, I was delighted when I received it and began flipping through it. Preceding each of the equipment sections (e.g., football, shoes) was a one-page cartoon covering the history of that equipment. So, I thought it would be fun to show each of those cartoons and Goldsmith's state-of-the-art equipment in the mid-1930s. So, after today, you will see separate Tidbits covering footballs, shoes, pants, jerseys, helmets, and shoulder pads.
However, before launching into each equipment type, we'll review another cartoon highlighting the individuals on the GoldSmith Consulting Staff. Football coaches comprised most of the consulting staff, including Hunk Anderson, Noble Kizer, Fritz Crisler, and Doc Spears, while Major Wandle was a trainer. Each presumably told GoldSmith about a modern football team's equipment needs and had their players test the equipment while it made its way through the development pipeline.
So, of the five members of the consulting panel, how many names do you recognize, and many can identify the school they worked at in 1935? Before seeing the catalog, I was unfamiliar with Major Wandle, so I knew four of the five football men, and I pegged Hunk Anderson at the wrong school, so I only got three of the five schools right. After placing your bet, read on as we discuss each consulting staff member and where they were in 1935.
Heartley "Hunk" Anderson
Anderson played for Knute Rockne from 1918 to 1921. He also was a ringer for the Canton Bulldogs and, perhaps, others during his time in South Bend. Hunk played four years in the NFL before joining the diaspora of Rockne players coaching at Catholic schools nationwide. He took the reins at St Louis U in 1928 and 1929, assisted at Notre Dame in 1930, and took over the Irish program upon Rockne's death. Anderson left Notre Dame for North Carolina State in 1934. After three years, he had achieved a .500 overall winning record as a college head coach. He assisted for a few more years and then headed the Chicago Bears from 1942 to 1945, coaching them to two championship games and one title.
Kizer followed in Anderson's footsteps at Notre Dame, playing under Rockne from 1922 to 1924. Kizer went to Notre Dame to play basketball and captained the Irish dribblers, but also played guard as one of the Seven Mules blocking for the Four Horsemen.
After graduation, he assisted Jimmy Phelan at Purdue, taking over in 1930 when Phelan left for Washington. He went 42–13–3 over seven seasons, including a co-national championship in 1931 and two Big Ten championships. He resigned after the 1936 season, staying as Athletic Director before passing away in 1940 at age 40.
Herbert 'Fritz' Crisler
Crisler played at Chicago under Amos Alonzo Stagg, earning nine letters, the Big Ten medal, and his nickname. He assisted under Stagg before becoming Minnesota's coach in 1930. Crisler left for Princeton in 1932, leading them to a 9-0 record in 1932 and 1935.
During his time at Princeton, Crisler adopted a version of the winged helmet, which he later took to Michigan in 1938 and painted in contrasting colors. I could not find an image of the winged helmet Princeton used in 1935. Still, if the artwork from the yearbook is accurate, Princeton (with the striped sleeves) used the Goldsmith No. 50 rather than the Gladiator helmet, the version that became synonymous with Michigan football.
Clarence "Doc" Spears
Doc Spears played at Knox and Dartmouth, graduating in 1916 and becoming head coach in 1917 when the previous coach, Frank Kavanaugh, joined the Army. From there, Spears had stints with West Virginia, Minnesota, Oregon, Wisconsin, Toledo, and Maryland, finishing with a 148-83-14 record. Spears was a practicing physician throughout his coaching career.
He was in his final year with the Badgers in 1935, leaving after winning only three Big Ten games in three years. (Football Archaeology previously covered Spears' vision for weeknight MACtion during his tenure at Toledo.)
Frank "Major" Wandle
Wandle was a Jersey City boy who was the civilian General Secretary of the Knights of Columbus post at Fort Dix during WWI. Part of his role involved the troops' physical training, where he acquired the nickname "Major." He continued training after the war and became West Point's athletic trainer in the early 1920s. At the time, athletic training included tasks now handled separately by strength and conditioning, training, nutrition, and other functions. A reporter summarized Wandle's job in 1924 as:
A real trainer, like Franke Wandle, must be a jack-of-all-trades -a chap who combines the knowledge and the manual skill of a surgeon, physician, plasterer, masseur, bone-setter, ship-rigger, mechanic, plumber, tinsmith, carpenter, harness-maker, psychologist, comedian, minister, and general all-around good fellow.
Trevor, George, 'Closeup View Shows That Grid Warriors Are Only Normal Youngsters,' Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 1, 1924.
Wandle tired of Army life in 1930, joining former Army coach Biff Jones at LSU. When Jones left LSU in 1932, Wandle headed to Yale and handled duties there until he had a stroke on the practice field in 1937. Later, he retired to run a bar.
Wandle was one of 26 members of the inaugural class of the National Athletic Trainers' Association in 1962.
So, four coaches and one of the top trainers of the day provided advice and lent their good name to GoldSmith Sports Equipment, though I suspect they listened to Wandle more than the others but touted their affiliation with Wandle the least. Anyway, you now know all five members of the staff and the schools they worked at in 1935.
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